How you leave a job is vitally important

As a former manager of people, I have observed extremely professional and unprofessional behavior. In exiting a company, I have seen people leave with dignity and class, even when they have been asked to leave with some downsizing, rightsizing or reduction-in-force. I have also seen people trash their company and not give much notice wanting the company to have problems in the transition, even when the person is pulling the rip cord to leave.

I have shared with my kids, their friends and children of my friends, how you leave a job is vitally important. Our business worlds can be small, so your reputation matters. Your name is your greatest asset. It can also be your worst liability. Your former co-workers see how you conducted yourself. Your new company also will get wind of it. So, what do you want them to hear?

Leaving a company with dignity and class is also common sensical. If your new job does not work out, you have left an avenue to return. If you trashed that place, not only do you not have such an avenue, you may have damaged a referral to yet a new job.

I have shared this story about a very talented consultant who gave us a three day notice. He was not very helpful on projects that he was working on, just giving us his notes and a quick summary. It was highly unprofessional and he wanted us to fail to serve his former clients well. It should be noted he tended to be a prima donna, so others had to acquiesce to him more so than the other way around. About three years later, he wanted to return to our firm, and was stunned to learn he was not welcome.

I mention all of the above given what has transpired over the last two months and, in particular, the last two days. If the outgoing president had handled his election loss with dignity and class. he could have assured his place to re-run again in 2024. He could have still asked for recounts and even pursued some litigation with evidence. But, he could have handled the process with class and seriousness of purpose.

Instead, he announced on election night that he had won and proceeded with a narrative the election was being stolen from, an action he had staged and planned for six months. Sadly, he continued this false claim even as the evidence mounted against him and people who took their jobs seriously said he lost time and again.. Now, with the actions of his extreme followers which he wound up, invited and encouraged, he put people in danger and four have died.

How you leave a place is vitally important. Burning it all down is unprofessional and dangerous. And, the outgoing president has no one else to blame but the person in the mirror who looks back when he shaves. People do not emulate this behavior.

15 thoughts on “How you leave a job is vitally important

    • David, I think the threats of impeachment and the 25th amendment, will help him leave more quietly than he would have. Veteran journalist Harry Smith said this morning that in September, Trump said he could not guarantee a peaceful transition of power. He said alarm bells should have gone off as this is the president talking. He has gasoline all over his hands for this fire. Keith

    • Roger, I read the MAGA crowd is turning on Trump for throwing people under the bus. They failed to realize that is straight out of the narcissist playbook. Blame others. He truly will be a person without a country. Keith

      • Quite rightly said Keith
        What a perfect match.
        When the final strain comes neither side realised what the other was capable of.
        This could be, if good fortune is with you the way out:
        1. Trump will attempt to save his worthless hide, as he always does.
        2. The mob will be distressed they have lost their marionette.
        3. Cooler heads in the GOP will not be able to expunge the 6th January from their minds and distance themselves from the shriller parts of The Mob.
        4. Recriminations will break out in all directions.
        5. Slowly things will return to a more sober time.
        Maybe. Just maybe.

  1. Amen! The day after the election, I knew the checkers would be all over the floor. He reminds me of a childhood friend who, no matter what, even if she just thought she was losing the game, the pieces would somehow wind up on the floor. It was exhausting then, and it’s exhausting now.
    My parents gave us that same advice, and we passed it down to our children.

    • Thanks Lisa. True, Trump’s actions were predicted and predictable. People should have listened to those folks warning us like Mary Trump, Bob Woodward, and those diplomats and inspectors generals who lost their jobs when they raised concerns knowing the would. Keith

  2. (Unrelated to politics) When I was maybe going to get fired, I asked my manager if I could use him as a reference, since he had told me in writing that, except for 1 thing, my work was better than average. He was OK with it and I didn’t want him to fudge on that particular thing, just tell the future inquirers what I did well and what got me fired.

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